Education for All


Education is a basic human right and is essential for the exercise of all other rights. Yet there are still 781 million illiterate in the world and 58 million children are still out of primary school, and many more young and adult women and men are not learning what they need to know to lead healthy fulfilling lives.

Because of a combination of factors - such as poverty, gender inequality, geographic isolation and minority status - quality education is a distant dream for many notably for girls from poor households in rural areas. They are among the children facing the greatest barriers to education.

One of UNESCO’s main responsibilities is to advocate for the right of every girl and boy, young and adult woman and man, to quality education throughout life – regardless of the setting (formal, non-formal or informal).

Educational for all in Brazil

As one of the Champion Countries, Brazil seeks to catalyse political and financial support for education by leading by example and advocating for the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), of the United Nations Secretary-General. Besides, it is one of the BRICS countries. In this context, Brazil has great potential to transform its educational context, as well as to influence an educational change in other countries within the process for assuring inclusive and quality education for life within the post-2015 agenda.

Brazil has achieved the following advances in the last two decades:

  • Compulsory enrolment in pre-school for 4 and 5 year-old children (EC nº 59/2009)
  • Access to basic education has become almost universal. 
  • Provision expansion of technical and vocational education in recent years.
  • Reduction of illiteracy rates among youth and adults (illiteracy rate of people with age 15 or more has been reduced in Brazil: it has gone from 12,4% in 2001 to 8,7% in 2012  (PNAD 2012).
  • Increase in education financing (6,4%).
  • Enactment of the National Education Plan (2014-2024).

Along these lines, UNESCO can play a unique role in contributing to harmonizing educational statistics and disseminating such data around the world. UNESCO's contribution seems to be particularly critical for Brazil, as an E-9 country. Therefore, it still faces problems to achieve basic quality education for all, which is essential:

  • to reduce infant mortality rates,
  • to achieve educational equity, and
  • to assure sustainable development, peace and democracy

Education For All Global Monitoring Report

Published by UNESCO and developed by an independent team, the annual Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR) monitors global progress towards the six Education for All goals. Each year the report presents evidence to inform policy makers on a specific topic issue such as reaching marginalized populations, conflict, skills for youth, or teaching and learning. The GMR draws on data from a variety of sources including the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the leading source for international education statistics.

Monitoring Education Development

The Organization also coordinates an international movement in support of Education for All (EFA) and is responsible for monitoring the achievement of internationally agreed goals pertaining to education.

Looking beyond 2015 – the deadline set by the international community to achieve the EFA goals - UNESCO is also monitoring developments in education more broadly through research and by prompting international debates.

Normative instruments developed by the UN and UNESCO lay down international legal obligations for the right to education for all.

The Organization advocates for this right by monitoring its implementation, building capacities, and reporting on progress. UNESCO also helps countries develop legal frameworks as well as mobilizes global partners on issues relating to the right to education.

UNESCO coordinates the international efforts to reach the six EFA goals, working closely with governments, development agencies, civil society, academics and the private sector. As EFA lead agency, UNESCO focuses its activities on five key areas: policy dialogue, monitoring, advocacy, mobilisation of funding, and capacity development. Since 2011, UNESCO has also lead consultations on the post-2015 education agenda.

Rethinking Education

In addition to monitoring the state of education, UNESCO also functions as a “think tank” to guide global debates on the future of education. It does so by analyzing emerging development trends and their implications for education systems and for learning. It also reviews research on education policy and suggests strategic orientations for education policy development.


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